OPEN and St. Petersburg College host Pulitzer Journalist Hedrick Smith for conversation on Populist Revolution

Pentagon Papers

Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winner whose 1971  expose’ of the Pentagon Papers altered America’s role in the Vietnam War and whose 2013 book presaged the populist movement that helped Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency, visited USF St. Petersburg to discuss populism, protests and political promises in a forum on March 15 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Smith, one of America’s leading journalists and writers, will be joined by a local panel in a program titled The Populist Revolution of 2017. The discussion was held in the auditorium of the USFSP Kate Tiedemann College of Business, 140 Seventh Ave. S.

Hedrick to be Aresty Speaker

Hedrick was the distinguished Aresty Speaker in a forum is presented by USF’s Open Partnership Education Network (OPEN), the USFSP Department of Journalism and Media Studies, and the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College. The OPEN Partnership Education Network is sponsored by the Aresty Family Foundation. 

As a 26-year journalist with The New York Times, Smith reported from Moscow, Saigon, Cairo, Paris, Washington and the American South. His first Pulitzer Prize was shared with the team that reported the Pentagon Papers series, which revealed a secret government plan to enlarge the Vietnam War even as President Lyndon Johnson denied such plans existed. In 1974 he  won a Pulitzer for international reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe.

His subsequent book The Russians was a No.1 American best-seller translated into 16 languages. Smith’s next book, The Power Game: How Washington Works, was bedside reading for President Clinton. Many members of Congress used it as a political Bible. He has written three other best-sellers.


Smith is also an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer, creating 26 prime-time specials and mini-series since 1989 and winning most of television’s top awards including two Emmys, two National Public Service awards, and two Dupont-Columbia Gold batons.

In his 2013 book, Who Stole the American Dream?, Smith detailed the policy decisions that altered the landscape of power in Washington and undermined the American middle class. Naming Republican and Democratic leaders alike, he revealed how pivotal laws and policies were altered while the public wasn’t looking. The book gave specifics of why average Americans are struggling to keep afloat – and why, in 2016, many of them joined the populist revolution that is roiling the political landscape today.

That revolution will be the focal point of Smith’s presentation as he delves into the Women’s March movement that launched after Trump’s inauguration, structural reforms that could level the playing field for American workers, and the Trump administration’s promises and policies. He will be joined on stage by Katie Sanders, Deputy Editor of PolitiFact and Suzanne Benton, organizer of the St. Petersburg Women’s March.  The panel was moderated by Rob Lorei of WMNF.



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